Written by Courtney Hill (@cjhsport)
AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe highlighted the inconsistency of his men ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Manchester City.
The Cherries’ flying start to the campaign has been stunted by poor performances in recent weeks, especially away from home.
Speaking to the media this morning, Howe admitted this was an issue he is keen to change.
He said: “There’s been an issue this season of consistency of our performances which we can only put down to mentality.
“It is something we have to fix to be a team chasing the big guns.”
The lack of consistency has started to see the Cherries’ place in the Premier League look vulnerable.
With his side now just nine points off the relegation zone, Howe said: “We’re in a position where we have to get results and get wins.”
Bournemouth are winless in 13 games against Manchester City, conceding 24 and scoring just three.
With a lacklustre record against the Citizens, Howe is hoping to instil the belief in his players that they can cause an upset.
“We have the capability to beat Man City but we have to be perfect in our game,” Howe said.
“We have to defend and attack well. We’ve had moments against them, but we’ve also had some tough experiences where they showed their quality.
“We just have to hope and pray and get the crowd behind us to get the result.”
He then spoke of his respect for this City squad and credits this to manager Pep Guardiola:
“Their style of football is a joy to watch. Every time I see them play I feel like I learn something from them.
“He [Pep] is a very classy guy, I have a lot of admiration for him.”
Both Dominic Solanke and Junior Stanislas remain out due to injuries. Questioned on the pair, Howe said: “Solanke is closer to returning [than Stanislas] – but will not be fit for this game.”
On a more positive note for Bournemouth fans, Welshman David Brooks could be set to make his return this weekend.
Howe has slight reservations on whether or not that will be from the start, saying: “Brooks has done very limited training with us, so we’ll make an assessment before the game [on whether or not he’s fit to start].
“The injury is fine, though.”
Steve Cook remains for the Cherries as the experienced centre-half continues to recover from injuries, whilst Callum Wilson is expected to force Howe into a late call ahead of the clash with the reigning champions.
Coming into the City game, the Bournemouth boss will be looking for an instant response from his side who suffered a heavy 5-1 midweek defeat at Arsenal.
That response has been lacking in recent weeks. The Cherries have become prone to conceding early goals – something Howe has grown frustrated with.
“Everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. In the last few games we’ve fallen victim to that [conceding early goals] and I have to take responsibility for that.”
The Cherries will be hoping to bounce back from those poor results when they take on City at the Vitality tomorrow – kick-off is 3pm.